Vacation! Part 1

I’ll have to break this up into a couple of posts. Here’s the first installment!

For the first time ever the girls and I were able to take a really real vacation. Usually our vacation time consists of trips to Idaho to see family. Don’t get me wrong! That’s totally a vacation because we’re away from home and life is a lot slower there but it’s not a VACATION! type of vacation. Neither of the girls has ever flown so that was a first. MiniMe has never been any farther than Idaho in her whole 14 years. Beauty has been across the country but she was only 9 months old so she doesn’t count that.

This was our “Pack your suitcases girls! We’re going somewhere you’ve never been!” VACATION! For the last couple of years I’ve tried to plan a trip to San Antonio, Texas to visit my “mom friend” Erica again. I went in 2009 for her college graduation but the girls didn’t get to go with me. This year it all came together. I was able to get airline tickets for a very reasonable price and I got a weeks paid vacation so we made it  happen!

 

All packed and ready to go!

All packed and ready to go!

On the night of April 1st we spent the night at my brothers house so they could drive us to the airport at O’dark O’clock. Note to self: Next time, do NOT book a flight that leaves at 6 a.m. when you live almost 2 hours from the airport. We got up at 1:00 (I think I slept about 45 minutes) so we could leave by 2:00 to get us there by 4:00 for boarding at 6:05. I’m tired just thinking about that morning!

We're really tired

We’re really tired

 

 

 

When we got to the airport we went right to baggage check and got our suitcases checked for the flight and headed for security. Unfortunately Beauty forgot to put the brand new tube of toothpaste in her checked bag so when we went through security…

 

 

 

I was wrong!

I was wrong!

I was expecting Beauty to be inwardly freaking out about flying but she would play it off all calm and cool. MiniMe was the one I was expecting to freak out all over the place.

Obviously I can’t read my children as well as I thought. Beauty was a hot mess and asking for anxiety medicine and MiniMe was cool as a cucumber. I was totally impressed!

 

 

 

Beauty got some pretty pictures from the air.

Beauty got some pretty pictures from the air.

Sunrise above the clouds

Sunrise above the clouds

A mountain somewhere between Seattle and Phoenix.

A mountain somewhere between Seattle and Phoenix.

The flight to Phoenix was uneventful and we landed fine. After finding something to eat it was time to board again for Austin. We landed in Austin at 2:45 and Erica picked us up and we headed for San Antonio.

Everything's bigger in Texas!

Everything’s bigger in Texas!

This gas station  has over 100 gas pumps! For all my local peeps, I agree. We need a couple of these around here! <ahem>

On our way to Erica’s house we stopped at Rudy’s for some Texas BBQ! Unfortunately Beauty had problems eating for a large portion of this trip because she had her wisdom teeth pulled 2 weeks before we left. Lucky for her I found a recipe online for Rudy’s style corn. I’m not even ashamed to admit that I’ve made it twice since we’ve been home!

 

 

Our first full day in San Antonio started with the Zoo!

Our first full day in San Antonio started with the Zoo!

 

 

If you know me in real life you are probably aware of how much I love flamingos. Well, this was totally the place for me! They had 3 different areas with my favorite bird!

 

 

 

 

Totally a tourist shot!

Totally a tourist shot!

Apparently we are speed walkers because we made it through the zoo in about 3 hours. We ended up catching the city bus downtown. We saw the Alamo (from across the street) and all these other cool little shops I didn’t see last time I was there. We found Ripley’s and had a good time checking out the gift shop.

 

Yep, we're cool!

Yep, we’re cool!

A new reality

I haven’t posted much recently because everything I’ve written is sad and depressing and that’s so not what I wanted to do with this blog. Unfortunately that’s just the way my mind is working right now.

I want to be funny but find myself struggling not to cry most days. And that’s not funny.

I’m still adjusting to this new reality. You know, the one where my mom died and Beauty is in another state? Yeah, that’s been a lot of fun. NOT! I can’t help it. I miss my mom and I miss my girl. We talk on the phone almost every day which helps but it’s not the same. We have gotten to Skype a few times and that’s a little better but still not the same. I can’t touch her and give her a hug.

MiniMe and I will be going on a long weekend trip to see Beauty in a week and a half. I’m so very excited!!! We haven’t seen her since August when we went on our epic adventure and it’s been a looooooooooong 3 months. MiniMe misses her sissy a lot and can’t wait to see her. She’s not the only one! I’m also happy because I’ll get to see my sister who I haven’t seen since mom’s funeral.

With the holidays fast approaching we will have a whole season of firsts. I have Valium for the worst rough spots but I think I’ll be okay because I have the love and support of my family.

Oh yeah, and I’ve decided after almost 25 years to quit smoking! Please pray for MiniMe and I as we try not to kill each other during this time.

 

Our grand adventure

Our epic adventure started innocently enough.

Months ago I received a Facebook event invitation for a family reunion in August for my mom’s side of the family. My cousins try to do a camping trip every year to the town where my mom and her siblings grew up. I click “Maybe” as my response because life happens and really, I’ve clicked maybe pretty much every year but something always comes up and I’m unable to make it. The last time I went MiniMe was 3. It’s been 10 years.

This has been a whirlwind year for us. With Beauty’s health problems then Mom passing away in May. Huge change in my job which meant full-time hours, a promotion and a pay raise. Yay me! A month after mom passed I put Beauty on a bus.  Mostly because of mom’s passing and my need to see my girl, I decided that I really needed to go the reunion this year. My cousins were there for my siblings and I in our time of crisis and I wanted to be able to spend time with them for a non-sad reason.

I’ve never driven to the area where the reunion would be held by myself so planned my route out and MiniMe made scores of lists of the things we needed to bring. She wanted to pack her bags 3 weeks prior to our departure! Well, 4 days before our departure date there was a mudslide on the highway I was planning to take. This particular highway would put me about an hour from my destination. Plan B: take the other route that would add a couple hours to my trip. Given that they weren’t able to clear a path the way I wanted to go before our we left I decided to go with Plan B.

We had the van loaded with our stuff for a weekend of camping. It was really full. Tents, bedding, bags, food, coolers, everything we would need for 3 days of camping with family. We left town about 10:00 a.m. expecting to arrive at our destination in about 6ish hours.

Or not…

Three hours into our trip, after crossing a mountain pass on which they were blasting so traffic was slow going, we made it to the town of Leavenworth, WA. Please don’t get me wrong. This is a very cool town. But this trip my plan was that it would a “top off the gas tank, grab a quick bite to eat and get back on the road” kind of town.

MiniMe took a couple of cool pictures while I was driving

MiniMe took a couple of cool pictures while I was driving

Going up the mountain pass

Going up the mountain pass

White Water!

White Water!

Unfortunately my vehicle had a different plan. You see, even tho I had checked all the fluids in my van prior to our trip like I’ve always been taught, my van decided to blow through 6 1/2 quarts of transmission fluid going over that mountain pass. It didn’t really want to move from the gas pump.

The gas station of doom!

The gas station of doom!

Our home away from home

Our home away from home

After lots of tears (I cried. I cried a lot!) and phone calls…

We will be rescued!

We will be rescued!

My brother and another family member made a plan. I had called my nephew and he graciously agreed to let me borrow his car so we could make the rest of our trip! Ginormously HUGE thank you to Timber and Georgia! We love you guys so much!!! The only problem was that we needed to wait. We had to wait for my nephew to get home from work with said car so my brother could go load it on the car trailer to bring to me. We also had the 3 hours of driving time it would take them to get to us. I’ve never spent any time in this little town we were in and it was a Friday evening so my brother suggested we go check it out. Luckily we were only a block from all the very cool little shops and the park.

We found cool stuff like this

We found cool stuff like this

And this! It's purple!!!

And this! It’s purple!!!

It was also VERY HOT!!!  We weren’t really prepared to be walking around town in 97 degree weather! o.O

We found a very cool hat shop

We found a very cool hat shop

I liked this one best! We even found flamingo sunglasses!

I liked this one best! We even found flamingo sunglasses!

We found a t-shirt shop that had this in the window

So true!

So true!

After waiting…and waiting…and waiting…

The cavalry arrived!!!

Do you see how little that car is? I drive a minivan. Remember me telling you that we were going camping for 3 days and had it totally packed? Would you believe that we fit everything in this little car??? Well, my brother didn’t think we would either but we did! So after unloading the car from the trailer, moving all the stuff from my van to the car then loading the van on the trailer, we were ready to go again! I still had another 3 plus hours to drive. MiniMe ended up falling asleep and totally slept through me singing to keep myself awake for the last hour. We got into the little town where my mom grew up and I had to make an executive decision to turn either right or turn left. (My phone was dead, no working cigarette lighters in the borrowed car so I couldn’t use my GPS) My navigator (MiniMe with the map) was mostly asleep. I turned right. Because I didn’t think it looked right (remember, it’s been 10 years since I’ve been there and THAT time it was daylight!) I pulled over. Turns out I pulled over IN FRONT OF THE BAR! Ok, in my defense, the bar was closed! Anyway, I pull over, turn on the dome light and look at the directions.

Let me set the scene for you a little better.

It’s about 2:15 a.m. I’m pretty much lost. There is absolutely nothing moving in this little town. Not even the trees!!! I’m in a borrowed car that is packed to within an inch of it’s life with our stuff. It’s me and my 13-year-old daughter. All caught up now? Good… lets get back to the story.

As I’m looking at the directions trying to figure out what to do next, a car pulls up behind me. Huh, that’s interesting. Next thing I know…

Of course!

Of course!

All I could do was laugh. Because seriously???

So the cop walks up to my side and the first thing he says is “Ma’am, I have to tell you that you’re being recorded.” OF COURSE I am! I have to tell you, it took every ounce  of self control I have not to ask if it was for Candid Camera! All I could do was laugh. Apparently when I pulled over at 2:00 in the morning in a totally dead town with not another car anywhere in sight I forgot to use my blinker.

So he asks me for my license and registration. Ummm… I hand him my license no problem and begin frantically searching for the registration for a car THAT ISN’T MINE!!! Awesome!

As I’m searching I’m pretty much babbling saying “This is my NEPHEW’S CAR that he’s letting me borrow because mine broke down and we just spent 8 hours  waiting for my brother to bring me my NEPHEW’S CAR that he’s letting me borrow and they brought it to me on the trailer and my van is on it’s way home but my NEPHEW let me borrow his car so I can go to my family reunion and this is my NEPHEW’S CAR. I think I must have mentioned that this was my nephew’s car about 17 times. He apparently thought I was a psycho lunatic because he called for back-up! MiniMe looked out her window and there was another cop on her side of the car!!! Really dude???

Anyway, he let me go with a warning and told me how to get to the resort where Beauty and my niece and the rest of my cousins were waiting.

I just love her!

I just love her!

My aunt who lives there came to the reunion on Saturday afternoon. One of my cousins was talking with her and I hear from across the camp “Hey! You’re famous! You made the news!”

I’m thinking, “Awesome! Which part of my crazy adventure made the news?”

Turns out my aunt was up listening to the scanner and when the cop ran my information she heard it. **sigh**

We ended up having a great time and I got to spend time with my cousins and talk with my mom’s 2 sisters and visit with my remaining uncle.

We had water balloons

We had water balloons

And a bouncy house!

And a bouncy house!

MiniMe, Beauty and Me

MiniMe, Beauty and Me

The coolest dog ever!

The coolest dog ever!

The whole motley crew

The whole motley crew

I think she misses her sissy

I think she misses her sissy

All in all, it was a great time and I’m so glad we went. I’m hoping to be able to go again next year but with a little less adventure getting there.

As my aunt was preparing to leave we were saying our goodbyes and she says to me “Your birthday is on the 28th, right?” I replied, “No, my birthday is in December.” She looked up at me and said “Oh, that’s right! I heard that on the scanner!” **sigh**

Now they call me “The Fugitive”

Summer fun!

When I was little we lived in a little tiny town. Just outside of town there was a pond where we could go swimming. When I was really little my sister and brother used to take me there. Nothing like being a teenager and having to take your baby sister with you everywhere. When I got old enough my parents finally let me ride my bike to the “second dock” to go swimming with my friends. It was maybe a mile. That was all well and good until you hit the gravel road. Or heaven forbid you got to close to the edge and got sucked into the deep gravel.

I have great memories of swimming there when I was little. There was a little sandy beach we could play on and a diving stand you could climb up if you were brave enough (I wasn’t). I didn’t really know how to swim very well so I never got very far away from the dock where I couldn’t touch. There were drop-offs too. My niece almost drowned because of one of those.

One specific memory I have was when I was a little older. Pretty sure I was 13 when this happened. I was staying with my sister and helping take care of her and my nephew while she was pregnant with my niece and on bed rest for 6 months. It was a nice summer day we went to the pond and had a picnic with a bunch of her friends. While we were there my ex-boyfriend showed up. For some reason I didn’t have a swimming suit so my sister gave me a tube top to wear swimming. I was pretty proud of myself that I had learned how to swim under water and decided to show off a little. Unfortunately when I stood up my top came down and I flashed not only my ex-boyfriend but his brother and a bunch of his friends. It was mortifying. And there’s nothing worse than trying to get that stupid roll of fabric to un-roll in a hurry!

When MiniMe was a baby we went to visit my parents and went out to that same pond and she got to put her feet in the water just like my sister used to do with me. A couple of years ago we were on vacation at my sister’s house and the girls along with their friends we brought with us spent the day at that very same pond jumping off the very same dock I used to. The diving stand is no longer there but the little baby fishes still like to nibble on your toes if you stand still.

Growing up in the dark ages (i.e. before internet and cable) had its perks. We really did use the sun (or our stomachs) as our clock so we’d know when to come home. We didn’t have cliques or anything. There weren’t many kids in town so everybody just played together. Getting to ride your bike to the pond was a right of passage that we all went through. And jumping off the dock was the highlight of every summer.

How am I?

Well, that’s just a loaded question right there.

In the last 12 days:

  • Monday – Beauty was admitted to the hospital with kidney problems again
  • Tuesday – My mom was admitted the following day to the same hospital with internal bleeding. I also had my first ever anxiety attack
  • Early Wednesday morning – My brothers and sisters and I had to make the decision to let mom go. I had another anxiety attack
  • Thursday – Mom passed away. I had 2 more anxiety attacks. It was also my step-dad’s birthday 😦
  • Friday – Beauty was released from the hospital because the doctor is an idiot. My sisters came from Idaho
  • Saturday – Had a service here for mom. Another anxiety attack
  • Sunday – Went to my old church (also the church my parents attended). It was good to see so many of those who have been praying for us but still hard to be there without my mom.
  • Monday – Worked all day and ended up taking Beauty back to the hospital to be re-admitted.
  • Tuesday – Worked all day after getting 2 hours of sleep in a chair at the hospital with Beauty. Doctor released her again because they can tell us what ISN’T wrong with her but can’t figure out why she’s still in so much pain. Really dissatisfied with our healthcare system right about now!
  • Wednesday – Worked all day, probably the most uneventful day I’ve had in a while.
  • Thursday – Got to see the little boy who is like my grandson. Haven’t seen him since Thanksgiving. He’s growing so much! **I didn’t cry for the first time in a week!!!**
  • Also Thursday – A truck with an oversized load hit a bridge on the freeway about 30 miles from where I live and the bridge fell in the water. Thankfully nobody was seriously injured! Bad news for me is that I have to drive that way today after work! Yep, that will be fuuuuuunnnnn!!!! NOT!
  • Today is Friday and after work we are leaving for Idaho for a second service and burial for my mom. Good news is that I have Valium!
  • Tomorrow is Saturday and we will be having the above mentioned service for family and friends that weren’t able to come to the first service. I expect I will cry a really lot.
  • Sunday we will be driving back home.
  • Monday I will sleep and clean my house that I’ve barely been at in the last 2 weeks.
A very sick girl and her very sick Grandma

A very sick girl and her very sick Grandma

During the last 2 weeks I have learned just how amazing my friends are. I can’t thank you guys enough for being there for me during this difficult time in my life. Y’all know how to make a girl feel loved!

Just like a grilled cheese sandwich, only different!

Ok, so you have to know there’s a story behind the grilled cheese thing.

A lot of years ago, when I was pregnant with my youngest child, my friend Kim and I went on vacation together. No, not somewhere tropical (I wish!). We went to visit my family in a neighboring state. We were on our way home and were only like a mile into our trip. Out of nowhere she looks at me and says “Yep! Just like a grilled cheese sandwich, only different!” Ummm… WHAT? You see, we weren’t talking about sandwiches, or cheese, or even food! She has insisted for the last 13 years that it totally made sense with the subject matter. I don’t believe her. So now, whenever something doesn’t make any sense, I just say “Yep, just like a grilled cheese sandwich, only different!” and people look at me like I’m crazy.

Yeah, pretty much!